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MS to see AOL-Netscape deal documents

The works, including a tempting 'advertising services agreement'

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Microsoft won a small victory from Judge Jackson late Friday when he agreed that Microsoft could see certain documents connected with the AOL/Netscape/Sun deal. Microsoft had filed for discovery, since the DoJ automatically got to see the documents because of its separate role in approving the merger. The documents were designated as "highly confidential" under the terms of the May 1998 Protective Order, so that they may only be seen by identified persons. Normally this means lawyers, and they are prevented from passing the information to marketing people, for example. It was also ordered that the states may also see the same documents. The documents to be produced are: the AOL/NS agreement and plan of merger; the AOL/Sun strategic development and marketing agreement, joint development agreement, a side letter amending the Sun technology and licence agreement, a service provider agreement, a dial-up network services agreement, and an advertising services agreement. No wonder Microsoft was interested. Judge Jackson's reason for this decision is probably to make it more difficult for the Court of Appeals to overturn any decision for the DoJ, using as a ground for appeal the denial of what it would call critical evidence. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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